Maggots Clean Wounds Faster Than Doctors
But they don't make wounds heal any better: experts
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 20, 2011 2:40 PM CST
Maggots may help clean wounds faster.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Maggots may work faster than any surgeon when it comes to cleaning large wounds that are slow to heal. Typically, doctors use scalpels and special enzymes to lift dead tissue from such wounds; researchers in France wanted to see if maggots could speed the process. They compared the two therapies on patients suffering from venous leg ulcers, keeping both groups of subjects blindfolded so they couldn't tell what kind of treatment they were getting.

Maggots are able to liquefy and digest dead tissue. After a week of the two therapies, wounds on patients who'd undergone surgical cleaning were two-thirds covered in dead tissue. Wounds belonging to patients who'd gotten the maggot treatment were just 55% covered in the tissue—and those patients felt no more of a creepy-crawly sensation than the surgical group. After two weeks, however, both groups' wound closure was equal. That "shows that maggots clean wounds more quickly than conventional treatment but with no benefit on healing," an expert tells Reuters.

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Showing 3 of 46 comments
Dec 21, 2011 4:39 AM CST
Don't mean to be overly crtical, but the photo accompaning this artical is not of fly maggots but common grubworms, possibly the larva of Popollia japonica, the common Japanese beetle. They make good fishing bait but for cleaning dead flesh, no can do. They are strictly vegetarian. Just Zoologisin' . . .
Dec 21, 2011 2:47 AM CST
I haven't had the "pleasure" of working with wounds that had an active maggot presence, but have read plenty about them and leeches as well..Interesting stuff, and highly effective. That being said....that stuff still creeps me out...yeeeech
Dec 21, 2011 1:01 AM CST
Oh, so they're able to distinguish between healthy and non-healthy tissue? And how do they do that? Microscopes? Sniff test? Catt Scans? Reading Scarpetta novels?